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Drawn from the rich archives of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, this collection brings together twenty-nine oral histories from people of varying ages and occupations who participated in civil rights activism at the grassroots level. These highly personal narratives convey the real sense of fear and the risk of bodily danger people had to overcome in order to become the movement's foot soldiers. The stories offer testimony as to how policing was carried out when there were no cameras, how economic terrorism was used against activists, how experiences of the movement differed depending on gender, and how youth participation was fundamental to the cause. Participants in the struggle ranged from teachers, students of all ages, and domestic workers to elderly women and men, war veterans, and a Black Panther leader. This volume demonstrates the complexity and diversity of the spirit of resistance at a formative moment in American history.
Horace Huntley is a professor of history at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, the director of the Oral History Project at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the coeditor of Black Workers' Struggle for Equality in Birmingham. John W. McKerley is a faculty research associate and assistant editor with the Freedmen and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland in College Park.
Abbreviationsiii; Acknowledgements iv; Preface v; Introduction; Foot Soldiers for Democracy 1; Robin D.G. Kelley; Look for Them in the Whirlwind 8; Rose Freeman Massey; 1. Emma S. Young 19; 2. Eva Lou Russell 35; 3. Jimmie Lucille Hooks 45; 4. Nims E. Gay 60; 5. James Armstrong 74; 6. Joe Hendricks 90; 7. James Summerville 102; 8. Henry M. Goodgame, Sr. 107; 9. Joe Dickson 118; 10. Johnnie Summerville 140; 11. Jonathan McPherson 147; 12. LaVerne Revis Martin 155; 13. Paul Littlejohn 164; 14. Carlton Reese 170; 15. Elizabeth Fitts 183; 16. James Roberson 190; 17. Annetta Streeter Gary 197; 18. James Ware and Melvin Ware 207; 19. Willie A. Casey 213; 20. James W. Stewart 222; 21. Gwendolyn Gamble 237; 22. Carolyn McKinstry 248; 23. Carl Grace 264; 24. Malcolm Hooks 276; 25. Miriam McClendon 284; 26. Washington Booker III 296; 27. Shirley Smith Miller 316; 28. Carrie Hamilton Lock 324; 29. Audrey Hendricks 336; Epilogue 342